Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Animal Prayers

I’m not an animal lover.  Well, I didn’t used to be until God blessed me with kids that do.  Now we have two dog and two bunnies.  I feel overly satisfied with that.

I went to pick Jenna up late last night from the volleyball bus.  When we got out of the car, I heard a funny sound.  It sounded like the alarms were going off at the gas plant again.  It’s always comforting to know there could be an explosion at any moment a stone’s throw from your house.  But it was too soft.  Maybe an explosion would be better than what we actually found.

It sounded like… meowing?  Jenna hopped out of the car and went running. 

“A cat, a cat! There’s a cat under the deck”. 

And so there was.  It is actually a very friendly kitten.  She went in and woke Abby. 

“Can we keep it?” they echoed in unison.

“Why not?  As long as it doesn’t come in the house.”  I said.

“You let two wild dogs in the house, but you won’t let one little kitten in?”  they said.

Mike is concerned.  He doesn’t like cats.  But more because he feels like people are going to think he drugged me or something.  Maybe he’s abusing the submission principle and forcing me to acquire animals now that we are done having babies. 

He says if we feed a cat it will never go away.  Then he goes to get some dog food for it, which it wolfed right down. 

They got a blanket for it and put it in our pet carrier for the night. 


As the girls are getting into bed, Jenna starts jumping up and down. 

“I’ve been praying for a baby animal to take care of!” 

How do you argue with that?  It’s seriously a dream come true for them.  A concrete answer to the prayer of an eleven year old.

When they woke up this morning they ran to tell Annie.  All three girls were on my bed at 6:30 a.m., they couldn’t have been more excited had it been Christmas.

We told them we have to try to find out if it belongs to anyone.  We are not Keller Animal Rescue. 

This morning Maren and I put it in the kennel to keep it away from the dogs. 


It got right out and made itself at home on the deck.


Buddy and Daisy are very curious.  I have spent most of my morning playing pet rescuer.  It makes sense, since I am the one who loves animals so much.  I even picked the darn thing up.

One thing I’ve learned this year is that pets are a great experience for kids.  It teaches them responsibility and breeds love.


How can you not go with it when it especially when it comes in the form of answered prayer? 


We’ll definitely call our neighbors to see if anyone is missing a cat.  It’s possible the answer to prayer is just taking care of it for a while. 

It’s also possible that we’ll buy a little cat food when we are out on errands this morning. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


There are days I wonder what I’m doing here.  People have always wondered why I stay home.  Even when all my kids were little and it would have cost a million dollars a week to put them all in day care.  I think lots of people felt sorry for me.  And often times I felt sorry for myself too. 

Giving to our kids is a thankless job.  They need food.  They need clean clothes.  They need to be cleaned up after.  All they do is take, take, take.  It’s exhausting. 

This morning while I was still in bed, I heard stomping and complaining because a jersey wasn’t clean for today.  What she didn’t know is that I had stayed up late getting it washed after last night’s game and it was in the drier. 

I put dinner in the oven last night before I left.  There was no praise for that.  Well, except my husband’s thanks, but who cares about that.   No one wrote on Facebook or Twitter about how great it was for me to cook or stay up late washing my kids’ clothes. 

I just spent an hour putting together a princess puzzle on the floor.  I hate puzzles.  It’s an hour that I didn’t get anything else done.  I think it’s God’s sense of humor that my kids like them so much.

I think that’s why I fall into the trap of looking for a bunch of other things to fill my days with.  Things that will give me praise and a sense of achievement. 

Whether you have a paid job or not, we all seek to fill up our days with stuff.  We get involved in committees and activities.  We do all sorts of stuff that people will rave over us for because it makes us feel good. 

Even if we have a paycheck and a career, it never feels like enough. We bring our kids to countless activities because others will see what “good” moms we are.  At times, all that extra stuff is a negative for our family.  It leaves me exhausted and cranky.  And all of a sudden doing the stuff around here seems like a prison sentence. 

Last night while I was doing the laundry I found myself surfing through the job listings.  All of a sudden I wondered what on earth was I doing?

Having a job and being on committees can all be good.  But why do we buy the lie that what we do at home for our families isn’t important or valuable?  Or use outside things as an escape or to fill a void?  Do we really believe that mothering isn’t enough.  It’s not a big contribution.  And maybe by investing in it, I’m shortchanging myself. 

Well, I doubt anyone would want my job.  And no one should.  It’s my family that God has blessed me with.  It’s an honor to serve them by spending time doing puzzles and supporting them by cleaning their clothes, feeding them and making sure they brush their teeth.

It’s a blessing to have kids.  A gift from God.  So I need to choose to care for them with joy.  And love them with God’s love.  When I do, the feelings follow and God provides the strength.

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. Ephesians 5:1-2 (The Message)

Nothing we do is unnoticed by God.

Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.  But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.  Matthew 6:1-4

God treasures the things we do for Him.  Even the things no one else notices or sees, He rewards. 

Don’t believe the lie that mothering is not important.  Don’t go looking for lesser things to busy yourself with for a little empty praise.  Look to Jesus.  He loves you and has given you a gift in your family.

The added benefit is day by day, I’m changing.  I’m learning to rely on Him and stay humble.  Because, seriously, what’s more humble than washing your kids’ dirty sports clothes or changing diapers or making bottles in the middle of the night? 

Our kids aren’t obstacles, they are gifts from God.  Serve them with joy!

Monday, October 17, 2011


We’ve been reading missionary stories in our house again lately.  They always have such a big impact on us.  We read about people facing gun fire, starvation, unfriendly soldiers and they continue to stand firm for Christ.  They didn’t back down or run home.  Even if it meant death.

I had also recently read a story about a pastor in Iran that was scheduled to be executed for his faith.  This kind of stuff doesn’t just happen in missionary story books.  There are people all over the world giving their lives for Christ.  Risking their freedom to attend church.  Willing to go to jail to bring God’s word to others. 

Here in America we have access to Bibles, churches, websites, podcasts.  We have the freedom to worship and share Jesus with others.  And what do we do? 

We whine because we get home late on Sundays.  We’re hungry.  We might miss the kick off of the football game. 

We don’t want to commit to helping out at church because it might tie us down.  We want to be able to sleep in or go out of town on weekends. 

We don’t take time to read the bible but we spend hours a day reading blogs, Facebook and twitter.  We watch hours of TV or movies, but can’t give an hour a week to serve.

We leave a church because we want our needs to be met.  Maybe we even get a little from different churches.  We like the music at one place, youth group at another, and Bible study at yet another.

I have people tell me that we are just a busy culture.  People are working more.  People are running more.  But isn’t it a busy we choose?  We don’t have to work nearly as hard at surviving as people used to. 

We are busy chasing around.  Trying to do more things, please ourselves, make more money so we can buy more things. 

And all of a sudden no one has time for God.  Or church.  

Church attendance is certainly not the end all or be all of being a Christian.  But God calls us to serve. 

“Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Matthew 20:28

To share. 

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.  Luke 10:1-2

To commit.

Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save their life  will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.  Mark 8:34-35

If we just take from churches without being committed to them, how will their ministry continue?  How will they accomplish God’s work?

If we live selfishly and only squeeze God in when it’s convenient for us, are we really following Him?

Is Jesus Christ something you believe in or just another activity on your list?  I probably won’t be asked to die or go to jail for my faith.  But can I die to myself and be committed to Him? 

When we have the desire and make the choice to commit ourselves to Him, He’ll give us the strength to do it. 

I want to live my life in a way that reflects the passion of the missionaries in our book.  I want to be fully committed to Him.  And if everyone else falls away, Lord, give me the strength to keep standing.